R-E-J-E-C-T-I-O-N. That big, scary nine-letter word that we’re conditioned from an early age to avoid at all costs. Sometimes, we try so hard to avoid the dreaded R-word that we never actually go for what we truly desire.
One particular area of our lives where our fear of rejection can really slap us in the face is our relationships. Our fear of rejection can paralyze us from initiating new relationships. It can silence our desire to tell someone how we really feel about them. It holds us back from taking small chances that could evolve into something much greater. It causes us to settle for mediocre relationships instead of aiming high because we’re scared of looking foolish.
Admitting how you feel to someone you like can be very confronting, but it’s also a very refreshing experience. Maybe it has something to do with my general impatience and stubborn refusal to ‘play’ the ‘dating game’, but if I like someone, I’ll walk right up and tell them to their face. I also have a pick up line for people who catch my eye when I’m out. It goes something like this: “Hello. I came over to hit on you. Would you like to dance with me?” As you can see, I’m a real smoke-and-mirrors kind of girl 😉 Seriously though, the first time I did either of those things, I was terrified! But after I’d done it once, it was actually no big deal. I’d built it into a big deal in my mind, but it was nowhere near as scary in practice.
Whether I am the pursuer or the pursued, I always get something special out of these interactions. When someone is brutally honest about their feelings for you, you feel obliged to pay respect to their courage and do the same. Honesty like that isn’t very common because most people don’t have the courage to come right out and say how they feel. The conversation following such a confession is honest and genuine – two people open up, really listen to each other, and share their real feelings without playing games. It’s a rare and beautiful thing. How much better does it feel to communicate deeply with someone from a place of truth and honesty, than from behind smoke and mirrors? As someone who has worked very hard to build my own confidence, I always have a deep level of respect and admiration for those who approach me with such genuine honesty.
This kind of brutal honesty has immediate, powerful, and long term effects on a relationship. Aside from the obvious question of whether or not the person actually likes you back, there is a fundamental shift in the relationship dynamics. If the person likes you too, there is now a solid footing from which to build a relationship – a foundation of honesty and respect. Even if they don’t, the same foundations have still been laid to form a basis of a solid friendship.
I’m sure plenty of people will disagree that honesty is the best policy. There are people think that dating is a game and you have to play it, and that attraction doesn’t have a chance to build if you’re honest about how you feel. After dabbling in both mindsets, I beg to differ. I do admit – male or female, you can get someone to feel attraction for you if you know the right buttons to push. But if someone is genuinely interested in you then you won’t have to push any buttons. And if that’s the case, wouldn’t you rather just know that from the start without playing games, so you can get onto the important stuff like getting to know, appreciate, and love one another?
Could your relationships use a little more honesty? If you can’t bring yourself to begin a relationship in this manner yet, practice on smaller things. Tell your Mum you love her. Give your kid sister a cuddle because you feel warm towards her. Tell your best friend how much she means to you. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes.
Like this article? Say "thanks" with a soy chai latte!